“War, war, war! Nuclear war is imminent! Putin is an unhinged maniac intent on wiping western humanity off the face of the Earth.”
That’s all we hear on the news these days, isn’t it? We dare to turn on the T.V. and listen to the anchors preach, “Everything is bad. Everything is a mess, and we are on the brink of extinction.”
Now, the purpose of the article isn’t to determine the veracity of those claims, but rather, to determine how we should live if those claims are true (perhaps they are, perhaps they aren’t, who knows?).
The reality is that war doesn’t really change much regarding the human condition; it merely unveils our present one. Everyone is going to die one day, and although we like to disregard and forget about it, that doesn’t mean we can escape our fate as “It’s appointed unto man once to die and after this, the judgement” (Hebrews 9:26).
Thus, under the threat of war, should we live any differently than we do now? Don’t we live in a world constantly plagued by the dangers of death? Think about it—you go outside and are immediately assailed by millions and millions of bacteria, all storming your body in an attempt to conquer and kill.
Or, if you take your car for a cruise, you’re zooming at 120 km/h, right beside other vehicles, on countless kilometers of cement and asphalt. Doesn’t that sound deadly, as well?
Should we, therefore, live differently than we do now because a war in Ukraine is raging? Not at all! Should we wait until the war is over to start living again? Again, not at all! It would be most disagreeable to live as cowards; nothing about it is desirable.
3. The Now
Thus, it’s our job to mortify our fearful sentiments. The fact is that we rarely keep to the present because the “right now” usually hurts. We gaze over at Ukraine and Russia and understand what Jesus meant when he said that the moments before His return will be categorized by “wars and rumours of wars” (Matthew 24:6).
In this, we long for the past and mourn over its flight; “It was so peaceful back then!” we say (it really wasn’t, but we make it seem so). We also try to divine the future and further mourn over the possibility of our suffering.
But by doing so, we are trying to understand what isn’t ours to know. We are wandering in times, events, politics, and battles that are not ours to engage. From moment to moment, we almost exclusively think about the past or the future—never the present—and by doing so, we neglect the only time that’s ours.
By worrying about events of the future that might never come to pass, we are wondering what our lives might look like 5, 10, or 20 years from now. I assume we hope they will be better than they are now, or are prophesied to be by the news. But, again, because we trap ourselves in times that are not our own, “we never actually live, but hope to live and since we are always planning how to be happy, it is inevitable that we should never be so.”*
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